Lustgarten Foundation Announces Change in Board Leadership

Posted On Feb 07, 2020

Topic: Announcement, Hide on Homepage, Press Releases
Lustgarten Foundation Announces Change in Board Leadership

Andrew Lustgarten assumes helm of father’s namesake organization as Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dr. Vizza “passes the baton” after more than 20 years leading the Foundation

New York, NY – The Lustgarten Foundation, the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research in the world, is pleased to announce today that Andrew Lustgarten will assume the role of Chairman of the Lustgarten Foundation’s Board of Directors. Mr. Lustgarten, the son of the Foundation’s co-founder Marc Lustgarten, has served on the Board since 2001 and is President of The Madison Square Garden Company, a leading live sports and entertainment company. He succeeds Dr. Robert F. Vizza, who will remain on the Board as Chairman Emeritus.

Dr. Vizza has led The Lustgarten Foundation since its inception in 1998, first as President and CEO, then as Vice-Chairman and finally as Executive Chairman. Twenty-two years later, Dr. Vizza has decided that with the initiation of the Foundation’s new 5-year strategic plan, now was the right time to pass the baton to Mr. Lustgarten whose strategic vision will ensure the Foundation continues to grow and fulfill its mission.

The Foundation also announces today that James L. Dolan and Adam Silver have been appointed Vice Chairmen of the Board. James Dolan is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Madison Square Garden Company, and Executive Chairman of MSG Networks Inc., which includes two award-winning regional sports and entertainment networks. Mr. Silver has served as Commissioner of the National Basketball Association since 2014.

Under Dr. Vizza’s leadership, the Foundation has sponsored more than $188 million in pancreatic cancer research, including the creation of four dedicated pancreatic cancer research laboratories. The Foundation’s support has resulted in such advances from the sequencing of the pancreatic cancer genome to the use of organoids for personalized medicine; and from developing CancerSEEK as a blood test for early detection to the creation of Felix, an artificial intelligence approach to imaging for early detection.

“Dr. Vizza has served the Foundation and my father’s memory with great distinction,” said Andrew Lustgarten. “He has made an exceptional contribution not only to this organization but also to the field of pancreatic cancer research. I am honored to continue his legacy as we continue to make strides toward our mission to cure pancreatic cancer.”

“It has been a great privilege to lead this incredible organization for more than 20 years” said Dr. Robert F. Vizza. “The Lustgarten Foundation reflects the very best attributes of a modern foundation: a passionate commitment to research and distinguished attention to the interests of patients and researchers. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many talented professionals making a real and lasting impact in the fight against pancreatic cancer, and I am confident the Foundation will continue to thrive under Andy’s leadership.”

“On behalf of our board of directors and staff, I want to convey our most sincere appreciation to Dr. Vizza,” said Kerri Kaplan, President and CEO, The Lustgarten Foundation. “He has been a friend and mentor to me and has provided exceptional leadership, vision and insight as the executive chairman of our board, taking the Foundation to where it is today – having raised more than $188 million over the past 22 years that’s been directly invested into pancreatic cancer research.”

The Lustgarten Foundation was created in 1998 after then-51-year-old Marc Lustgarten, Vice Chairman of Cablevision and Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It quickly became evident that there were few therapy options and research was practically nonexistent. Pancreatic cancer was considered an orphan disease because only $16.2 million—less than one-half of one percent of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) budget—was allocated to researchers studying pancreatic cancer, despite it being the nation’s fourth leading cause of cancer deaths at the time.

Charles F. Dolan, Chairman of Cablevision, Marc Lustgarten and Dr. Robert F. Vizza, former President and CEO of St Francis Hospital, met to explore options to help Marc and all patients impacted with this challenging disease. After discerning the limited availability of treatment options and the minimal amount of research being conducted, they, along with James L. Dolan, then President and CEO of Cablevision, developed a vision for a foundation dedicated to “advancing the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer.”

About Andrew Lustgarten

As President of The Madison Square Garden Company, Mr. Lustgarten is responsible for driving both internal and external opportunities for growth. He oversees the Company’s entertainment and sports bookings and productions businesses, as well as all aspects of the business operations of the Company’s professional sports franchises. In addition, Mr. Lustgarten drives the Company’s corporate development activities, including new strategic opportunities, initiatives and partnerships, as well as the Company’s plans to build state-of-the-art venues, called MSG Sphere, in Las Vegas and London. He was named to Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list of the most influential executives in sports under 40 years old. In addition to his work with the Lustgarten Foundation, Mr. Lustgarten serves on the board of directors of Tao Hospitality Group, Boston Calling Events and Counter Logic Gaming. He also is on the board of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles. In addition, he serves on the board of governors for the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League on behalf of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. Mr. Lustgarten earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, with concentrations in finance and management, and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

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